The effects of daily distress and personality on genital HSV shedding and lesions in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of acyclovir in HSV-2 seropositive women.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98101, United States.
Brain Behavior and Immunity (Impact Factor: 5.61). 06/2011; 25(7):1475-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.06.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections are ubiquitous in humans, but the determinants of clinical and virologic severity are not completely understood. Prior research has suggested that psychological distress can be a co-factor in reactivation of latent HSV infection. Personality traits such as extraversion and neuroticism influence stress attributions and may inform the relationship between psychological distress and health outcomes. Earlier studies in this area have primarily focused on subjective reports of HSV lesion recurrence, but such reports may be influenced by both personality traits and distress. We report results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of acyclovir in 19 women for whom personality was assessed at baseline and daily assessments of genital lesions, stress, anxiety, and depression levels were collected for 22 weeks. In addition, daily swabs of the genital mucosa were collected to assess HSV-2 viral reactivation. We found that daily stress predicted genital lesion frequency, and that daily stress, anxiety, and depression predicted genital lesion onset approximately 5 days before onset. Anxiety was also associated with genital lesions 3 days after onset. Distress and viral reactivation were not associated; and no personality traits were associated with any of the outcomes. These results support the hypothesis that psychological distress is both a cause and a consequence of genital lesion episodes.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) genital lesion recurrence is modulated by psychological factors, but no such link with viral shedding (and thus asymptomatic transmission) has been observed in humans. Purpose The moderating effects of average psychological distress, emotional stability, and emotion regulation on HSV-2 recurrence were tested. Methods Nineteen HSV-2 seropositive women were followed over 22 weeks. Daily measures of HSV-2 recurrence and psychological distress were collected. HSV-2 lesions and viral shedding were modeled as linear oscillator systems, with psychological distress moderating the periodicity of each process. Results High levels of distress, more labile moods, and less ability to regulate emotional states were associated with fewer days elapsed between the onset of lesion episodes. Viral shedding showed the same pattern. Conclusions Results are consistent with research indicating that psychological distress suppresses immune system functioning, and provide new evidence that genital HSV-2 viral shedding is related to, and regulated by, psychological distress.
    Annals of Behavioral Medicine 10/2014; 49(2). DOI:10.1007/s12160-014-9640-9 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) is a chronic reactivating infection that leads to recurrent shedding episodes in the genital tract. A minority of episodes are prolonged, and associated with development of painful ulcers. However, currently, available tools poorly predict viral trajectories and timing of reactivations in infected individuals. We employed principal components analysis (PCA) and singular value decomposition (SVD) to interpret HSV-2 genital tract shedding time series data, as well as simulation output from a stochastic spatial mathematical model. Empirical and model-derived, time-series data gathered over >30 days consists of multiple complex episodes that could not be reduced to a manageable number of descriptive features with PCA and SVD. However, single HSV-2 shedding episodes, even those with prolonged duration and complex morphologies consisting of multiple erratic peaks, were consistently described using a maximum of four dominant features. Modeled and clinical episodes had equivalent distributions of dominant features, implying similar dynamics in real and simulated episodes. We applied linear discriminant analysis (LDA) to simulation output and identified that local immune cell density at the viral reactivation site had a predictive effect on episode duration, though longer term shedding suggested chaotic dynamics and could not be predicted based on spatial patterns of immune cell density. These findings suggest that HSV-2 shedding patterns within an individual are impossible to predict over weeks or months, and that even highly complex single HSV-2 episodes can only be partially predicted based on spatial distribution of immune cell density.
    PLoS Computational Biology 11/2014; 10(11):e1003922. DOI:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003922 · 4.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a herpes virus that has been implicated in biological aging and impaired health. Evidence, largely accrued from small-scale studies involving select populations, suggests that stress may promote non-clinical reactivation of this virus. However, absent is evidence from larger studies, which allow better statistical adjustment for confounding and mediating factors, in more representative samples. The present study involved a large occupational cohort (n=887, mean age=44, 88% male). Questionnaires assessed psychological (i.e., depression, anxiety, vital exhaustion, SF-12 mental health), demographic, socioeconomic (SES), and lifestyle variables. Plasma samples were analyzed for both the presence and level of CMV-specific IgG antibodies (CMV-IgG), used as markers for infection status and viral reactivation, respectively. Also assessed were potential biological mediators of stress-induced reactivation, such as inflammation (C-reactive protein) and HPA function (awakening and diurnal cortisol). Predictors of CMV infection and CMV-IgG among the infected individuals were analysed using logistic and linear regression analyses, respectively. Confirming prior reports, lower SES (education and job status) was positively associated with infection status. Among those infected (N=329), higher CMV-IgG were associated with increased anxiety (β=.14, p<.05), depression (β=.11, p=.06), vital exhaustion (β=.14, p<.05), and decreased SF-12 mental health (β=-.14, p<.05), adjusting for a range of potential confounders. Exploratory analyses showed that these associations were generally stronger in low SES individuals. We found no evidence that elevated inflammation or HPA-function mediated any of the associations. In the largest study to date, we established associations between CMV-IgG levels and multiple indicators of psychological stress. These results demonstrate the robustness of prior findings, and extend these to a general working population. We propose that stress-induced CMV replication warrants further research as a psychobiological mechanism linking stress, aging and health.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 01/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2014.01.012 · 5.61 Impact Factor


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Jun 1, 2014